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1938 Jefferson Nickel, Presentation Piece

1938 Jefferson Nickel, Presentation Piece

In early 1938 the Commission of Fine Arts announced an open competition to design a new nickel with the likeness of Thomas Jefferson. There were 390 artists who answered the call and submitted designs, some of them well known, some of them relatively unknown. I am sure that it didn’t hurt that in the midst of the Great Depression that there was a $1,000 prize for the winning design.

Amongst the aforementioned 390 artists, it was Felix Schlag’s design that was accepted. As is common practice then, and now, artists found way to further capitalize on their new found fame. With that in mind, Mr. Schlag acquired 150 Proof versions of new nickel from the mint and had them framed so as to sell them to the public.

In frames measuring approximately 9×11, Mr. Schlag signed the mat-board and had them notarized on September 20th, 1939, nearly one year after issue. The inside reads as follows:

“FIRST PRIZE WINNER AMONG 390 COMPETING ARTISTS IN THE NATIONAL COMPETITION FOR A NEW FIVE CENT COIN, APRIL 20,1938 (SIGNED) ‘FELIX SCHLAG’ SCULPTOR”

PROOF JEFFERSON NICKEL 1938

UPON REQUEST FELIX SCHLAG-DESIGNER OF THIS COIN HAS CONSENTED TO SIGN 150 PROOF JEFFERSON NICKELS-OF WHICH THE COIN ABOVE IS NUMBER __-SWORN TO BEFORE ME THIS 29TH DAY OF SETPEMB. A.D. 1939

Signed illegibly,

NOTARY PUBLIC

At Numismatic Americana Incorporated we have bought and sold many of the available 150 pieces over the years, including the number 1 specimen. These are great items for the collector of American history, Jefferson nickels, or just someone looking for a nice piece to hang in their den. We are proud to offer the following pieces for your consideration.

1938 Jefferson Nickel, Presentation Piece #132

1938 Jefferson Nickel, Presentation Piece #132

Number 132. In what I believe to be the original frame (although it is a little scuffed up). Ruggedly handsome.

Priced at: $2,000.00

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1938 Jefferson Nickel, Presentation Piece #145

1938 Jefferson Nickel, Presentation Piece #145

Number 145. In a modern frame (done by us), as close as possible to the original. Insides are very fresh, and this would look great on any Numismatist’s wall.

Priced at: $1,750.00

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Two Unsigned Plaster Models for the Jefferson Nickel Competition of 1938

Two Unsigned Plaster Models for the Jefferson Nickel Competition of 1938

A Treasury Department Art Projects Bulletin, No. 14, of 1938 announced an open competition for the design of the new Jefferson nickel. Although the competition was open to the public, there had been a number of announcements already mailed off to known artists who might be interested and capable. The winner of the competition would receive $1,000 and the committee to pick the winner would be composed of Nellie Tayloe Ross, Director of the Mint along with the sculptors Sidney Waugh, Albert Stewart and Heinz Warneke. Two of the major requirements were that the models could not be signed and that any artist that would have liked to have had his or her models returned would have to pay for the return shipping. Additional detailed instructions as to the format and content were included in the announcement. Approximately 390-entries were submitted and, unfortunately, the great majority of those entries have not been found and/or connected to their artists. The winner of the competition was of course Felix Schlag, with Honorable Mention going to Henry Kreis. Kreis is better known to modern numismatists as the designer of the Connecticut and Bridgeport commemorative half dollars and the artist who engraved the obverse of the Robinson commemorative half dollar. Although Schlag won the competition, the final reverse design chosen to be placed into production bore little resemblance to his dramatic three-quarters view of Monticello.

The two plaster models included here are without signature marks of any type.  They are most likely a pair submitted at one time by a single artist as their patina and style look quite similar. The creamy, antique white obverse has IN GOD WE TRUST in front of the portrait, a widely spaced LIBERTY above and a closely spaced date set off-center below. There are some pencil marks that appear to be guidelines on the model as well as some tape on the edge, though the tape does not appear to have any function. The reverse is unmarked aside from some red, violet or pink ink that has long ago bled. The most dramatic feature readily visible, aside from the design, are a pair of holes drilled neatly through the model, each with an outer diameter of approximately 3/8 inch, perhaps for mounting on a wall. The likely mate for this obverse is a reverse that is strikingly similar to what was finally put into production later in 1938. It has many of the features we are familiar with on the first Jefferson nickels, but also has a pair of bold stars and the fine details of Monticello are in striking relief. Interestingly, the ink seen on the obverse mate is also seen on this piece in the field beneath E PLURIBUS UNUM as well as on the reverse. Additionally, myriad pencil markings are on the surfaces, generally along the edge and plain back, as well as a fairly large chip that has been lost from the rim above the A in AMERICA. This model also has holes drilled into it.

Each model is approximately 8-1/2 x ¾ inches.

 

Priced at: $7,500.00

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Unsigned Plaster Model for the Jefferson Nickel Competition of 1938

Unsigned Plaster Model for the Jefferson Nickel Competition of 1938

A Treasury Department Art Projects Bulletin, No. 14, of 1938 announced an open competition for the design of the new Jefferson nickel. Although the competition was open to the public, there had been a number of announcements already mailed off to known artists who might be interested and capable. The winner of the competition would receive $1,000 and the committee to pick the winner would be composed of Nellie Tayloe Ross, Director of the Mint along with the sculptors Sidney Waugh, Albert Stewart and Heinz Warneke. Two of the major requirements were that the models could not be signed and that any artist that would have liked to have had his or her models returned would have to pay for the return shipping. Additional detailed instructions as to the format and content were included in the announcement. Approximately 390-entries were submitted and, unfortunately, the great majority of those entries have not been found and/or connected to their artists. The winner of the competition was of course Felix Schlag, with Honorable Mention going to Henry Kreis. Kreis is better known to modern numismatists as the designer of the Connecticut and Bridgeport commemorative half dollars and the artist who engraved the obverse of the Robinson commemorative half dollar. Although Schlag won the competition, the final reverse design chosen to be placed into production bore little resemblance to his dramatic three-quarters view of Monticello.

The plaster model included here is without signature marks of any type.  It is a snowy white obverse model with IN GOD WE TRUST behind Jefferson’s head, LIBERTY spaced widely directly above his portrait and spaced widely and centered beneath. The model has very visible, raised guidelines for the letters and numbers and some mild staining by TY of LIBERTY. The reverse and sides are essentially unmarked with a few chips noted near the base, which are not visible when looking directly at the plaster.

The model is approximately 8-1/2 x ¾ inches.

 

Priced at: $4,500.00

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Notes on Our Next Show

Central States Numismatic Society

April 22-25, 2015
Schaumburg Convention Center
Schaumburg, IL

If you have items to SELL please stop by our table and we will be happy to discuss purchasing them

We will also have many items with us for you to view. If you are looking for anything in particular, or have an interest in anything on our website, please email or give us a call, prior to the show and we will make sure we bring this item for you to view.

Thank you and we look forward to meeting you.

Show Schedule

Central States Numismatic Society
April 22-25, 2015
Schaumburg Convention Center
Schaumburg, IL

GSNA Convention
May 14-16, 2015
Ukrainian Cultural Center
Somerset, NJ

Colorado Springs Coin Show
June 25-28, 2015
Freedom Financial Services Expo Center
Colorado Springs, CO

Whitman Coin Expo
July 16-19, 2015
Baltimore Convention Center
Baltimore, MD

Missouri Numismatic Society 55th Annual Coin Show
July 23-25, 2015
The Saint Charles Convention Center
Saint Charles, MO

American Numismatic Association World's Fair of Money
August 11-15, 2015
Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
Rosemont, IL

Whitman Coin Expo
November 5-8, 2015
Baltimore Convention Center
Baltimore, MD

The 59th Houston Money Show
December 3-5, 2015
Geo. R. Brown Convention Center
Houston, TX